How many postholes...?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Nette, Mar 8, 2005.

  1. Nette

    Nette Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,811
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2003
    Location:
    NC
    ...should a healthy 40-year-old woman be able to dig per day? I've found that three is my limit, and I'm sore and discouraged. I wanted to do this myself, and not get DH to hook up the auger on the tractor. I only have to dig nine, for heaven's sake, but these posthole diggers are about to get the best of me. I'm planting my posts two feet deep. Have three more to go, and hopefully I'll get them done tomorrow, if I can move. I'm just so insulted--I thought I was in better shape than this! Those darn chickens better appreciate their new run.
     
  2. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

    Messages:
    6,143
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Location:
    Wyoming
    All depends on the ground. When I was a 16 yo kid growing up in NW, The ground was so hard and rocky I was lucky to get 2 a day. In sandy areas of my place now at 45 I can get 15 to 20 day.
     

  3. whodunit

    whodunit Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,028
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Location:
    Idaho
    Depends on how many rocks you encounter per each hole.IMO

    Never have enjoy digging fence post holes, would rather pound those metal ones in.

    Happy digging...

    Mrs Whodunit
     
  4. Nette

    Nette Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,811
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2003
    Location:
    NC
    Red clay. Not many rocks.
     
  5. JanO

    JanO Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    854
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2003
    Location:
    Western Washington
    Clay is the worst! It's mushy and then hard as granite when it's dry. If your doing 3 a day I think your in better shape then your giving yourself credit for.

    Hang in there... ;)
     
  6. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

    Messages:
    10,854
    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Location:
    Zone 7
    Sharpen the cutting edges of the hand diggers with a file. I also work this NC red clay and you should not have the problems you are experiencing. At this time there is good season (wettness) in the soil and it should dig nicely. Ask hubby to dig one and watch his technique. You should be able to dig several an hour and rest some in between.
     
  7. milkstoolcowboy

    milkstoolcowboy Farmer

    Messages:
    337
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    MN
    We have mostly loamy soil up here and rocks aren't a problem. I've carried water to dig post holes when it's real dry in summer though.

    If you don't like using a post-hole digger, you might want to get an alternative hand tool, the post-hole auger. I prefer for digging post holes, but I don't know how well it'd work in your soil.
     
  8. Kadiddylak

    Kadiddylak Member

    Messages:
    15
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2005
    I think your doing good , digging holes is a chore.
    Im 35 and in good shape. I can dig about 40 holes in a day but we have sandy loam. Sharpening the tools will help you . take breaks between holes. Wet ground is heavier and will wear you out. Another thing you can do is spray pam or WD40 on the tools to keep the dirt from sticking .I use a sharpshooter to loosen the soil and only use the posthole diggers to clean out the dirt.
    they also make a digger that works like a screw that you just twist into the ground . I use two pairs a small set about that are real light duty and a heavy set with steel handles for the bottom.

    Good luck
     
  9. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,808
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2003
    Location:
    Dysfunction Junction, SW PA
    you need a post hole spud bar.
    they have many head shapes, but if you can find one with a thin wedged shaped tip thats sharp like a chisle, dropping the 25 pound bar in the bottom and breaking up the dirt helps A LOT.
    I cant dig psot holes without my bar.... its all rock and clay.
    but the posts set niice and tight with all that rock n clay backfill.
     
  10. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,808
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2003
    Location:
    Dysfunction Junction, SW PA
    I had, and lost, one of those "garden claws" you shove in and twist to break up soil, it was great for the bottom of an in progress post hole.
     
  11. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    8,275
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    MN
    What kind of post hole digger do you have? I have mostly yellow clay soil, but can find anything on this farm you can run into.....

    Those clamshell diggers with 2 handles that you throw into the ground & spead apart are worthless for making a hole in clay. Great to clean out the crumbs.

    The auger type work very well. They have a T handle, and 2 fixed (adjustable tho) jaws at the bottom. You twist the handle around about 1-2 revolutions, and it augers right into the ground & fills the jaws, pull it out thump it on a piece of post & the dirt falls out, go back for more. I can dig 10-20 holes in an afternoon with one of these in the clay, not very hard. My posts go in 4 feet deep.

    If the clay is too dry, start the holes a couple inches, put in a dribble of water, let the water soak in a bit. Clay drills easier when damp - not runny soup & not powder dry.

    --->Paul
     
  12. Nette

    Nette Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,811
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2003
    Location:
    NC
    I'm using the clamshell type--brand new, heavy duty--so sharpness probably isn't the issue. DH did demonstrate the proper technique, and I think I'm doing it right. Although, on second thought, maybe I did need a little more demonstration. Three holes-worth of demonstrating and I bet I would have gotten it down pat. :)
     
  13. crashy

    crashy chickaholic goddess

    Messages:
    2,740
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2004
    Location:
    Vancouver,Washington
    Well I will put in my 2 cents here I figure your doing great!!! just do the best you can rest lots drink plenty of water and go at your own speed you will get it done one scoop at a time. Earlier you had 9 to dig now you only have six!!! I think thats great :cool:
     
  14. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    8,275
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    MN

    Yea, I should add, here in Minnesota it would be hard to get one done a day right now - through the frost! :)

    --->Paul
     
  15. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,860
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    depends on the size of the tractor the post hole digger is attached to -:]
     
  16. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

    Messages:
    19,568
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2003
    Still haven't figured out why anyone wants to dig post holes unless its for a corner or their setting them in Concrete. :confused:

    I've always just drove them in wheather it be wood,or steel,in rock or clay.

    big rockpile
     
  17. stonefly71

    stonefly71 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    100
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2003
    What kind of posts are you puttin in the ground ? Wood or metal? If metal I'd use a post pounder instead. Goes much faster. Other wise I'd have gotten the tractor out and doen it with it you could have been done in a short time. Just my 2 cents. As we when I was younger put in about 100 t posts in one days time.It was our sheep pen. But there was like 3 of us puttin them in.
     
  18. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

    Messages:
    8,280
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    Location:
    Now in Virginia
    My husband uses the shovel first and goes as far as he can with that. Breaking anything up with the long wreaking bar he has,,and only then does he use the Clam shell post hole digger.

    If you are not using concrete you should to go down to three feet.

    Do not feel two bad, we only have 12 more acres to do here. :rolleyes:
     
  19. Nette

    Nette Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,811
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2003
    Location:
    NC
    Uh-oh. I sense that "thread drift" is about to happen. I can hear it right now (in a Jeff Foxworthy voice), "If yeeeeew were a tractor, what kind of tractor would you be?" Because if you even think about that question, you MUST be a redneck. :D
     
  20. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    559
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2004
    Location:
    wyoming/ now tennessee
    Dig down until it gets real hard or at least past a foot deep. Fill it with water go onto the next one. Get five or six at a time.After you let the water seep into the dirt dig out what you can, refill with water. Keep doing this until you are as deep as you want to be. shadowwalker